SummerSlam

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WWE SummerSlam
The SummerSlam logo 2012.
SummerSlam logo used since 2012, with the current WWE logo introduced in 2014.
Nickname(s)"The Biggest Party of the Summer"
Promotion(s)WWE
Brand(s)Raw (2002–2011, 2016–present)
SmackDown (2002–2011, 2016–present)
205 Live (2018–2019)
ECW (2006–2009)
First event1988

SummerSlam is a professional wrestling event, produced annually since 1988 by WWE, the world's largest professional wrestling promotion. Dubbed "The Biggest Party of the Summer", it is considered WWE's second biggest event of the year behind their flagship event, WrestleMania. It is also considered one of the company's five biggest pay-per-view (PPV) events of the year, along with WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, and Money in the Bank, referred to as the "Big Five". In addition to PPV, the event has aired on the WWE Network since 2014 and Peacock since 2021.

The inaugural SummerSlam took place on August 29, 1988, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. From 2009 to 2014, SummerSlam was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and from 2015 to 2018, the event took place at the Barclays Center in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. From its inception up through the 2021 event, SummerSlam was held annually in August. The 2022 SummerSlam will mark the first time that the event will not be held in August, as it will instead be held in July.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, that year's SummerSlam was WWE's first PPV produced from their bio-secure bubble, the WWE ThunderDome. After the promotion resumed live touring with fans in July 2021, that year's SummerSlam was promoted as the "biggest event of 2021" due to WrestleMania 37 having to be held at a reduced venue capacity. The 2021 SummerSlam in turn became the highest-grossing SummerSlam event of all time.

History[edit]

Madison Square Garden has hosted SummerSlam three times to date-- 1988, 1991 and 1998
Staples Center hosted SummerSlam six years in a row-- 20092014 the tagline was called California Sun
Barclays Center hosted SummerSlam four years in a row-- 20152018

In the late 1980s, the World Wrestling Federation's (WWF, now WWE) main competition in the professional wrestling industry was from the National Wrestling Alliance's (NWA) Jim Crockett Promotions. WWF Chairman Vince McMahon countered Jim Crockett's successful Starrcade pay-per-view (PPV), which began airing in 1983, by creating WrestleMania in 1985. After WrestleMania III in March 1987, the most successful professional wrestling pay-per-view event in history, McMahon created Survivor Series, which aired the same day as Starrcade in November 1987. After defeating Crockett in the ratings war, McMahon created the Royal Rumble, an event airing for free on the USA Network in January 1988, on the same night as the Crockett produced PPV Bunkhouse Stampede. The event set a ratings record for the network with eight million households tuning in to watch the event. In retaliation, Crockett created the Clash of the Champions I event, which aired simultaneously with WrestleMania IV. WrestleMania IV garnered higher ratings, and not long after, Crockett filed for bankruptcy and sold his company to Ted Turner, who rebranded it as World Championship Wrestling (WCW).[1]

As the WWF continued to replace its closed circuit programming with pay-per-view programming, McMahon added more pay-per-views to the lineup to capitalize on the success of his previous events. In addition to WrestleMania in March, Royal Rumble in January, and Survivor Series in November, McMahon created an event for August, which he named SummerSlam. The inaugural SummerSlam was scheduled to be held on August 29, 1988, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. To keep the WWF from having a pay-per-view market monopoly, Turner began airing monthly WCW pay-per-views. As a result, both companies brought in hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue.[2]

Dubbed "The Biggest Party of the Summer",[3] SummerSlam became one of the promotion's most successful events, eventually considered the second biggest event of the year, behind WrestleMania,[4][5] and also one of the "Big Four" pay-per-views, along with WrestleMania, Survivor Series, and Royal Rumble, the promotion's original four annual events and their four biggest events of the year.[6] From 1993 to 2002, it was considered one of the "Big Five", including King of the Ring, but that PPV event was discontinued after 2002.[7] In October 2021, Money in the Bank became recognized as one of the "Big Five".[8]

In May 2002, the WWF was renamed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) following a lawsuit with the World Wildlife Fund over the "WWF" initialism.[9] In April 2011, the promotion ceased using its full name with the "WWE" abbreviation becoming an orphaned initialism.[10] Also in March 2002, the promotion introduced the brand extension, in which the roster was divided between the Raw and SmackDown brands where wrestlers were exclusively assigned to perform[11]ECW became a third brand in 2006.[12] The first brand extension was dissolved in August 2011,[13] but it was reintroduced in July 2016.[14] SummerSlam, along with the other original "Big Four" events, were the only PPVs to never be held exclusively for one brand during either brand split periods. In 2014, SummerSlam began to air on WWE's online streaming service, the WWE Network, which launched in February that year,[15] and in 2021, the event became available on Peacock as the American version of the WWE Network merged under Peacock in March that year.[16]

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, WWE had to present the majority of its programming for Raw and SmackDown from a behind closed doors set at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida beginning mid-March.[17] The 2020 SummerSlam was scheduled for August 23 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, but it and the preceding night's NXT TakeOver event had to be relocated due to the pandemic.[18][19] On August 17, WWE announced that SummerSlam would emanate from Orlando's Amway Center and it would be produced by way of a bio-secure bubble dubbed the WWE ThunderDome, which was first utilized for the August 21 episode of SmackDown. This made SummerSlam the first major WWE event to be held outside of the Performance Center since March 2020, as well as their first pay-per-view produced from the ThunderDome. Inside the ThunderDome, drones, lasers, pyro, smoke, and projections were utilized to enhance wrestlers' entrances, and nearly 1,000 LED boards were installed to allow for rows and rows of virtual fans, who could register for a free virtual seat. Arena audio was also mixed with that of the virtual fans.[20][21][22]

While SummerSlam has been considered WWE's second biggest event of the year for many years, in 2021, it was promoted as the promotion's biggest event of that year. WrestleMania 37 in April 2021, which was the promotion's first event with live fans since before the pandemic, had to be held at a reduced venue capacity due to the ongoing pandemic. In July 2021, WWE resumed live touring with fans, and in an effort to sell out that year's SummerSlam, which was held at the Allegiant Stadium in the Las Vegas suburb of Paradise, Nevada,[23] WWE promoted SummerSlam as the "biggest event of 2021".[24] The 2021 event in turn became the highest-grossing SummerSlam event of all time.[25]

Events[edit]

# Event Date City Venue Main Event Ref.
1 SummerSlam (1988) August 29, 1988 New York City, New York Madison Square Garden The Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage) vs. The Mega Bucks (André The Giant and Ted DiBiase) with Jesse Ventura as the special guest referee [2]
2 SummerSlam (1989) August 28, 1989 East Rutherford, New Jersey Brendan Byrne Arena Brutus Beefcake and Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage and Zeus [26]
3 SummerSlam (1990) August 27, 1990 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Spectrum The Ultimate Warrior (c) vs. Rick Rude in a Steel Cage match for the WWF Championship [27]
4 SummerSlam (1991) August 26, 1991 New York City, New York Madison Square Garden Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter, General Adnan, and Colonel Mustafa in a Handicap elimination match with Sid Justice as the special guest referee [28]
5 SummerSlam (1992) August 29, 1992
(Aired August 31, 1992)
London, England Wembley Stadium Bret Hart (c) vs. The British Bulldog for the WWF Intercontinental Championship [29]
6 SummerSlam (1993) August 30, 1993 Auburn Hills, Michigan The Palace of Auburn Hills Yokozuna (c) vs. Lex Luger for the WWF Championship [30]
7 SummerSlam (1994) August 29, 1994 Chicago, Illinois United Center The Undertaker vs. "The Undertaker" [31]
8 SummerSlam (1995) August 27, 1995 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Civic Arena Diesel (c) vs. King Mabel for the WWF Championship [32]
9 SummerSlam (1996) August 18, 1996 Cleveland, Ohio Gund Arena Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Vader for the WWF Championship [33]
10 SummerSlam (1997) August 3, 1997 East Rutherford, New Jersey Continental Airlines Arena The Undertaker (c) vs. Bret Hart for the WWF Championship with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee [34]
11 SummerSlam (1998) August 30, 1998 New York City, New York Madison Square Garden Stone Cold Steve Austin (c) vs. The Undertaker for the WWF Championship [35]
12 SummerSlam (1999) August 22, 1999 Minneapolis, Minnesota Target Center Stone Cold Steve Austin (c) vs. Mankind vs. Triple H in a Triple Threat match for the WWF Championship with Jesse Ventura as the special guest referee [36]
13 SummerSlam (2000) August 27, 2000 Raleigh, North Carolina Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena The Rock (c) vs. Kurt Angle vs. Triple H in a Triple Threat match for the WWF Championship [37]
14 SummerSlam (2001) August 19, 2001 San Jose, California Compaq Center Booker T (c) vs. The Rock for the WCW Championship [38]
15 SummerSlam (2002) August 25, 2002 Uniondale, New York Nassau Coliseum The Rock (c) vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Undisputed Championship [39]
16 SummerSlam (2003) August 24, 2003 Phoenix, Arizona America West Arena Triple H (c) vs. Chris Jericho vs. Goldberg vs. Kevin Nash vs. Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels in an Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship [40]
17 SummerSlam (2004) August 15, 2004 Toronto, Ontario, Canada Air Canada Centre Chris Benoit (c) vs. Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship [41]
18 SummerSlam (2005) August 21, 2005 Washington, D.C. MCI Center Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels [42]
19 SummerSlam (2006) August 20, 2006 Boston, Massachusetts TD Banknorth Garden Edge (c) vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship [43]
20 SummerSlam (2007) August 26, 2007 East Rutherford, New Jersey Continental Airlines Arena John Cena (c) vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship [44]
21 SummerSlam (2008) August 17, 2008 Indianapolis, Indiana Conseco Fieldhouse Edge vs. The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match [45]
22 SummerSlam (2009) August 23, 2009 Los Angeles, California Staples Center Jeff Hardy (c) vs. CM Punk in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the World Heavyweight Championship [46]
23 SummerSlam (2010) August 15, 2010 Team WWE (John Cena, Bret Hart, Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan, Edge, John Morrison, and R-Truth) vs. The Nexus (Wade Barrett, Darren Young, David Otunga, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Michael Tarver, and Skip Sheffield) [47]
24 SummerSlam (2011) August 14, 2011 CM Punk (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio for the WWE Championship in Del Rio's Money in the Bank cash-in match [48]
25 SummerSlam (2012) August 19, 2012 Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H in a No Disqualification match [49]
26 SummerSlam (2013) August 18, 2013 Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship with Triple H as the special guest referee in Orton's Money in the Bank cash-in match [50]
27 SummerSlam (2014) August 17, 2014 John Cena (c) vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship [51]
28 SummerSlam (2015) August 23, 2015 Brooklyn, New York Barclays Center Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker [52]
29 SummerSlam (2016) August 21, 2016 Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton [53]
30 SummerSlam (2017) August 20, 2017 Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe in a fatal four-way match for the WWE Universal Championship [53]
31 SummerSlam (2018) August 19, 2018 Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship [54]
32 SummerSlam (2019) August 11, 2019 Toronto, Ontario, Canada Scotiabank Arena Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship [55]
33 SummerSlam (2020) August 23, 2020 Orlando, Florida WWE ThunderDome at Amway Center Braun Strowman (c) vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt in a Falls Count Anywhere match for the WWE Universal Championship [18][19][56]
34 SummerSlam (2021) August 21, 2021 Las Vegas, Nevada Allegiant Stadium Roman Reigns (c) vs. John Cena for the WWE Universal Championship [57]
35 SummerSlam (2022) July 30, 2022 Nashville, Tennessee Nissan Stadium TBD [58]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]